TECUMSEH — In the two days leading up to Jennifer Goethe's debut with the Tecumseh football team last Friday against Noble, Goethe and her parents joked quite a bit about what an improbable story it would be if she kicked a game-winning field goal in the season opener.
“I kept telling myself and my co-workers at work this week, ‘wouldn't it be something if she did that?'” Jennifer's father, Ernie Goethe, said.
It was something.
Just three days after Jennifer Goethe tried out for Tecumseh coach Greg George and two days after joining the team, she nailed a 22-yard field goal in overtime to start Tecumseh's season with a 16-13 win over Noble.
Goethe earned Oklahoman Player of the Week honors for her accomplishment.
“I jogged out there and I saw the look in the boys' eyes, our defense had done amazing,” Jennifer, a sophomore, said. “I was pumped up, yelling, ‘Let's go, let's go.' I think it gave everyone confidence.”
In the stands, Ernie wasn't quite as cool as his daughter.
“I was completely a nervous wreck,” he said. “I had my camera out on fast-frame shooting because I couldn't hold down the shutter. Her mom (Kathleen) and I, we were just nervous wrecks.”
Jennifer Goethe has loved football for a long time. She played football in Tecumseh when she was in the sixth grade, seeing time at tight end and receiver.
Her bedroom walls have posters of Dallas Cowboys stars Tony Romo and Emmitt Smith and Barcelona soccer star Lionel Messi.
“You go in there, and it looks like a teenage boys' room,” Ernie said.
There had been some discussion about playing football in the offseason when some Tecumseh assistant coaches watched Jennifer Goethe's soccer team scrimmage a boys team.
But she didn't think too much about it until Tuesday night, when she went to the Tecumseh track and brought along her football and tee.
She boomed kick after kick, some from as far as 40 yards, through the uprights.
Some of the Tecumseh football players who were there immediately called Coach George, telling him to give Goethe a look.
The next day, in her second-hour class with George, the coach asked if she'd be willing to give it a try. Goethe was ready. She had brought her cleats.
George liked what he saw that afternoon and asked Goethe, then her father, if she would join the football team.
Ernie wasn't sure.
“Are you talking about her playing this week against Noble?” Ernie asked.
George said, of course.
Ernie's only fear was his daughter suffering a knee injury that would hurt her soccer career.
She could play, Ernie said, but if there was a bad snap, his daughter would back out and let her male teammates take care of things.
George was fine with that.
Goethe hit an extra-point in regulation against Noble. She did have one blocked and just missed a field goal. On one of the misses, she was hit by a Noble player, though it just made her mad more than anything else.
When Tecumseh had a chance to win with a field goal — after Noble's kicker missed one of his own — Goethe didn't hesitate. She ran out on the field while her parents were going crazy in the stands.
“We felt like she could do it,” George said. “I'm sure there were some nerves there, but we were down there on the 5 and she'd hit a 40-yarder in practice. The offensive line did a good job holding them out, and she hit it solid, right through there.”
Goethe just took off running.
“Everybody was just all around and yelling,” Goethe said. “It was just crazy. It was just like a movie.
“They were all super excited. The team has been really great. They've accepted me. It was really amazing.”
Goethe realizes every week won't be quite like her first with the Savages' football team.
“I've just got to remember that glory is fleeting,” she said.